Internet speed on mobile networks in Germany has declined in 2019 compared with the previous year, according to a recent survey of 65,000 users.
The average speed dropped from 43.7 Mbps to 28.1 Mbps on Deutsche Telekom’s network, while it fell from 36.4 Mbps to 21.1 Mbps on Vodafone’s. On the O2 network, the average speed decreased from 26.9 Mbps to 20.5 Mbps.
In rural areas of the country, speeds are particularly low. In cities, users surf at twice the speed of their counterparts in rural regions over the networks of DT and Vodafone.
These results from Germany—a highly developed mobile market—are rather dramatic, it seems to us. The average speed decreased by around 35 percent on DT’s network, while on Vodafone’s and O2’s the figures are around 42 percent and 24 percent, respectively. And this is in only one year, The question is, what are the causes of this phenomenon?
While it is possible that the mobile operators are at fault for not maintaining their networks adequately, it is more likely that the chief culprit is overcrowding on the networks. In other words, the rapidly growing demand for data is simply outpacing the capacity of the networks to accommodate it. The disparity between rural and urban areas speaks to the relative lack of investment in networks in less-populated and more remote regions, but the root cause of the problem in both kinds of environments remains essentially the same—an increase in demands on the networks.
These results point in one direction—5G. The drop in speeds, it is to be hoped, is merely temporary, and when the next-generation service is rolled out across the country, it will no longer be a problem. As for those who remain on 4G/LTE for financial or other reasons, they will see speeds rise again, as well, since congestion on the older networks will be less of an issue as many users migrate to 5G.